Bethany Lowe with African woman



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Alternative Service Breaks: Making a Global Difference

For Bethany Lowe, the decision was easy to give up time spent with family and friends over the holidays to build schools and houses in an African village.

The New Zealand native has a passion for international travel and a desire to learn about new cultures. When she heard about the opportunity to join other University of Idaho students during winter break to work with a community in Ghana, she jumped at the chance.

“I really want to understand the world,” says Lowe, who is studying International Studies with an emphasis in African development. “I do have to admit I have the travel bug.”

Lowe was one of 27 students who traveled to Ghana or Chile during winter break as part of the University’s Alternative Service Breaks (ASB) program. The program, coordinated by the Associated Students of University of Idaho (ASUI) Center for Volunteerism and Social Action, gives students the opportunity to spend winter or spring break making a difference in communities throughout the world. Past ASB trips have taken students to Romania, Cambodia and Dominican Republic, where they built orphanages, taught children, or constructed new classrooms or repaired homes.

Nick Bonner, an Air Force ROTC cadet from Boise, said he went on an ASB trip to “broaden my understanding of the outside world” and to “see something completely new and something I haven’t experienced before.”

“You don’t realize how big the University is,” Bonner says. “Then you start to see how the University is plugged into international places and all the people it affects.”

Alternative Service Breaks
Community and campus volunteer programs
Service-learning projects through class
150,000 hours volunteered annually by students and a spot on the U.S. President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition for community service and engagement.

What equation will you use to make your impact?